The psychological inquiry into the effects of videogames and the internet on behavior is still a relatively new field. The question of whether playing violent videogames directly contribute to violent behavior, particularly in reference to its influence in mass shootings, is an important one that needs answers. A plethora of research purportedly shows the negative effects of (violent) videogames, but research showing positive effects, particularly on prosocial behaviors within the virtual world and reality, are less common. If specific videogame preferences are associated with altruistic behaviors, such a finding could elucidate how videogames might contribute to prosocial behavior. In this study, I examined if variables related to playing videogames are associated with altruism. Specifically, study variables were: (1) type of videogame played by participants (violent vs. non-violent); (2) the role players assume when playing (hero vs. villain); and (3) typical playing status (in teams vs. alone). Undergraduate students (n = 173; 120 females, 49 males, 4 “other”) completed a set of questionnaires assessing the following: their videogaming preferences and behaviors, altruism, pleasure at viewing violent media, antisocial behaviors, and aggressiveness. I had hypothesized that game players preferring to play violent games, on average, would obtain lower scores on altruism than players preferring to play non-violent games. The data did not support that hypothesis. I also hypothesized that game players who preferred playing heroes in games (instead of villains) and who preferred playing in teams (instead of playing alone) would obtain higher scores in altruism. Contrary to predictions, the data did not support those hypotheses. I also conducted exploratory analyses to determine if gaming preferences (e.g., violent or non-violent games, playing the role of heroes or villains, and playing in teams or alone) would be associated with extra-study variables (pleasure at viewing violent media, antisocial behaviors, and aggressiveness). None of the gaming preferences were associated significantly with any of the extra-study variables. All considered, these findings suggest that there is no disconcerting behavioral profile of video-gamers who enjoy playing violent video games, assuming any specific type of role, or playing in teams or alone. Additional implications of these findings are discussed.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Negy, Charles


Wright, Chrysalis


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Psychology Commons